Leaders of Opposition parties on Monday accused the ruling party of using the police and anti-social elements to thwart the bandh called by them to highlight the increase in prices of petroleum products.

“Workers, general public and traders supported the strike, despite the threats, warnings and false cases filed against them by the police,” they said.

AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa said the police and ruling party workers had warned traders and small merchants against participating in the bandh.

“When AIADMK workers and cadres of the alliance parties raised objection to this act, the police foisted cases against them,” she said, demanding the withdrawal of the cases and the immediate release of the protesters.

CPI (M) state secretary G. Ramakrishnan said ruling party workers, with the help of the police, forced traders to keep the shutters open.

“In Madurai and Palani the police caned the cadres of the Opposition parties. In Kancheepuram, the CPI (M) caders were attacked by DMK workers, while the party offices were torched in Madurai.”

First step

Describing the bandh as a first step in a series of struggle against anti-people policies of the Congress-led UPA government, CPI state secretary D. Pandian congratulated workers, traders, farmers and agriculture labourers who had defied the threats of the ruling party and police and participated in the protest.

AITUC general secretary S.S. Thiyagarajan said around 3 lakh workers in various industrial units across the state participated in the protest.